Heroin Abuse | XLDrugRehabBlog.com

Teen Heroin Abuse: A Drug That Doesn’t Play Favorites

Posted on 23. May, 2014 by in Alcohol & Drug Abuse

Heroin is a dangerous drug. It’s so addictive that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, you’re likely going to get hooked. It’s a drug that doesn’t play favorites. Anyone from any socioeconomic group can become addicted to heroin within a short period of time.

Heroin is an opiod that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian poppy plant. Heroin can be injected or inhaled by snorting or sniffing or smoking it. Symptoms of using the drug include red or raw nostrils, needle marks or scars on arms, wearing long sleeves at inappropriate times, and medicinal breath. Physical evidence might include cough syrup, bottles, syringes, cotton swabs, and spoons for heating heroin. Long-term symptoms are loss of appetite, constipation, brain damage, and damage to the central nervous system.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a recent study covering the years 2002-2006 indicates that 7 out of 10 adolescents who are using opiods for non-medical purposes have combined opiods with other drugs and/or alcohol in the last year. Marijuana (58.5% of teens surveyed) and alcohol (52.1% of teens surveyed) were the most common drugs to be combined with opiod use, followed by cocaine (10.6%), tranquilizers (10.3%), and amphetamines (9.5%). Other results of the study include:

  • Teens who reported taking opiods with other drugs were 8 times more likely to report abusing marijuana than non-users of opiods.
  • Teens who reported taking opiods with other drugs were 4 times more likely to report being drunk than non-users of opiods.
  • 24% of teens reported that they usually or always combined the non-medical use of opiods with marijuana.
  • 15% of teens reported that they usually or always combined the non-medical use of opiods with alcohol.

Sadly, surveys of teens indicate that they don’t believe short-term use of the drug is dangerous. This should be a large red flag to parents who are concerned about the growing heroin abuse epidemic spreading across the country. Continuing to have talks with their teens about the dangers of this drug is essential, especially for those living in Eastern suburbs.

The treatment for those dealing with heroin abuse will need to undergo clinical, supervised detoxification in order to manage the withdrawal symptoms. Research has shown that the best combination of treatment include medication, such as methadone, to manage the withdrawal symptoms, as well as therapy to address the behavioral and psychological issues that contributed to the addiction in the first place. Long lasting treatment includes creating a new lifestyle in which different daily choices are made, creating a strong support system, and examining the thoughts and behaviors that might be contributing to the cycle of addiction.

Along with the longer-term methods of treatment, there is also an emergency drug known as Naloxone. It is, a potentially life saving drug to use on someone who is in the middle of a heroin overdose. In areas around the country, police officers are learning how to use the drug in order to save lives while on duty. In one case, they injected the treatment drug into the nose of someone they found unconscious and within 30 seconds, he gasped, started breathing, and opened his eyes.

It is clear that mental, emotional, psychological and even physical abilities are severely impaired with heroin abuse. This is an epidemic that America is currently facing. Perhaps between Naloxone, the life-saving wonder drug, and treatment facilities, the lives of more and more teens will be saved.

 

References:

Sgueglia, K, Draznin, H., and Field, A. (2014). The Heroin Epidemic and the Antidote For Overdose. CNN Health. Retrieved on May 5, 2014 from http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/10/health/heroin-epidemic-naloxone/

(April 2013) Drug Facts: Heroin. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved on May 2, 2014 from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin
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